Hi! I’m Cara

A professional speaker, author,

and unwavering optimist
committed to helping you
build a bigger life

Cara Brookins - Rise
Iwas born in a small town in Wisconsin with a drive to make big things. And while I started out making caterpillar sleeping bags and popsicle-stick bird houses, today I’m proud to use my own hands to write books, plan speaking events, and even build an entire house to touch millions around the globe.

Now my biggest goal is to help people like you dream and then build a bigger life. Cara Brookins - Rise

If that feels impossibly-far-away to you right now, I get it. Years ago I married a man who developed a severe mental illness and stalked my family for more than a decade. Then I picked a strong, over-protective guy to keep us safe, only to uncover what should have been obvious; he was violent and abusive.

It felt like I’d failed at all the most important things in life. I also had four kids and we needed a place to live. On a deeper level, we needed to build confidence and re-build our broken family.

My kids were 17, 15, 11, and 2 when I decided to take a single, enormous leap to right everything at once. I decided we would build our own 3500 square foot house by watching YouTube tutorials.

One of the things I’m often asked is 
What made you think you could do something so big?

Ever since I was a tiny girl, I was a maker and a doer. Creating things wasn’t so much a hobby as it was a need. I taught myself to knit and crochet at 6 (by looking at pictures in a stolen book). I used a sewing machine by that age too. My brother and I built snow forts beside the driveway and cardboard box kingdoms in the basement.

I did these things by dreaming up big fantastic images of them in my head, and then clicking away at my knitting needles or shoveling snow for days until the reality came somewhere close to the picture in my head.

Cara Brookins - Rise So the truth is, I didn’t know I could build a whole house. I just knew how to pound in one nail. I knew how to cut one piece of wood, how to paint one wall. And I had this idea that if I did those things over and over, I would eventually end up with a house.

Did I ever worry that maybe I was wrong and we were just headed toward our biggest failure yet? Almost every day.

Building a house was impossibly difficult physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

But there were small wins with the house and big wins with my kids as we learned to communicate. And even more importantly, we learned how to laugh again.

So every day I woke up with this picture of our beautiful someday house in my head. And every day we went out and pounded a few more nails, mixed some concrete, and marveled over the powerful feeling of building something so much bigger than ourselves.

Which brings me to you

I’m the least likely person to have built a house. If my mile-wide stubborn streak can get me to my goals, you can reach your dreams.

That’s what drove me to write Rise, How a House built a Family. This book isn’t just about building the house with my kids, it’s also about the dark things that brought us to a place so low that this crazy idea made perfect sense.

My Commitment: I want you to succeed. Sharing my story in my memoir and in person rises from my passionate belief that you can build a life so much bigger than the one you’re living. Through my keynotes, training sessions, workshops, books, and blog –together we can build the life you want.

Your Success

Cara Brookins - Rise

is my Passion

This is my passion and my business. And while I’m the first to admit I don’t have all the answers and I still fail at things all the time—from DIY holiday ornaments to entire novels—I believe in teamwork. We can learn a lot from each other, and even more importantly we can draw on one another’s support, love, and honest communication.

Thank you so much for connecting with me and starting your journey to a bigger life.

I can’t wait to see what you build.

Want to know what my kids are up to? 

There is nothing more powerful than building your future with your own hands.


Cara Brookins -Rise

It’s time for you to do your something big – and doing something big starts with the right motivation.

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